IBM boosts its integration arsenal

SAN FRANCISCO – Integration is a top concern of enterprise IT managers according to IBM Corp., and on Monday the company outlined its strategy to help customers on that front.

Up to 40 per cent of current IT spending – an estimated US$12 billion – is devoted exclusively to addressing business and application integration said Steve Mills, general manager of IBM’s software group, quoting industry statistics. He made the comments here at IBM’s developerWorks Live show.

Over the years, organizations have adopted a variety of proprietary and shrink-wrapped solutions, creating islands of infrastructure that hamper the effort to enable e-business across the organization and drive the costs of maintenance up.

In response, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM announced a number of enhancements to its line of software, based on its four product lines: the flagship WebSphere middleware suite, Lotus workgroup solutions, its data management offering DB2, and its Tivoli management software.

“We’re evolving the direction of this software family to be a complete infrastructure platform…to help solve the integration problems,” said John Swainson, general manager of application and integration middleware at IBM. Foremost among them was the unveiling of WebSphere Application Server version 5, designed to help companies link applications across internal and external systems.

To address security concerns, version 5 ships with an embedded version of Tivoli Access Manager. It’s also designed to help users seamlessly deploy Web services, a feature first made available in WebSphere 4.0. Web services are the processes by which data and applications are made easily accessible over the Internet. IBM repeatedly hammered home its support for this technology.

“We support the fundamental, open standards of Web services. We’ve been making that happen,” said Bob Sutor, IBM’s director of e-business standards strategies.

Executives also pointed to Big Blue’s historical embrace of open standards and platforms both in and across its product line as a major advantage in its bid to help customers with integration.

Version 5 beta customers have yet to be determined, and it is not scheduled to be available until the third quarter of 2002.

Other new products announced at developerWorks include: WebSphere Business Integration Version 4.1, which integrates technology from CrossWorlds Interchange Server, WebSphere MQ Integrator Broker and MQ Workflow to let customers speed the process of business integration. It runs on AIX, Windows 2000/NT and Solaris; A number of additions to WebSphere MQ, in particular MQ Event Broker, which lets companies deliver personalized information to users based on their pre-set preferences. developerWorks Live is online at